News

Georgia’s biggest opposition TV station goes dark to protest ‘injustice’

by | February 18, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--The biggest opposition TV station in the former Soviet republic of Georgia has voluntarily suspended its broadcast for two days to protest what it claims is an attempt by the government to silence it. "It was not an easy decision[…] but today we are left

Environment

Massive snowfall causing problems in western Georgia

by | February 17, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Massive snowfall is causing problems in western Georgia, especially the two regions Samegrelo and Svaneti, where the snow cover in some places exceeds one meter. An avalanche cut off an important road connecting Zugdidi and Mestia, the administrative centers

News

Target of Georgia Church poisoning attempt was patriarch’s adviser

by | February 16, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Top prosecutors in Georgia now say the target of an assassination attempt within the Orthodox Church was not the patriarch, but one of his advisers. In an interview with the newspaper Rezonansi, POG spokeswoman Natia Sukhiashvili specifically

Economy

Wizz Air launches low-cost flights between London and Kutaisi

by | February 16, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz Air is launching cheap flights between London Luton and Kutaisi, a city in the western Imereti region of Georgia. United Airports Georgia announced the direct flights Kutaisi-London-Kutaisi two times per week, on Thursdays

News

Georgia reacts to arrest of priest on murder attempt charges

by | February 15, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgians are reacting to the detention of an Orthodox priest whom prosecutors accuse of trying to poison a high church official, widely believed to be the head of the Georgian Church. The story immediately went viral in Georgia, where the Orthodox Church

Politics

13 UNM activists arrested at rally outside Tbilisi City Hall

by | February 14, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--A demonstration in front of Tbilisi City Hall on Monday turned violent when activists for the United National Movement (UNM) tried to break into City Hall in order to meet Mayor Davit Narmania. Thirteen members of the opposition supporters were

News

Georgian priest arrested for planning to murder high church leader with poison

by | February 13, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--An archpriest in the Georgian Orthodox Church was arrested at Tbilisi airport, accused of trying to poison a person in ‘the Church’s highest hierarchy’ with cyanide. Archpriest Giorgi Mamaladze was arrested as he was trying to board a plane

News

Georgian man sentenced to twenty years in prison in breakaway region

by | February 13, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--A court in South Ossetia has sentenced a Georgian man to 20 years in a Tskhinvali jail for ‘sabotage and terrorist activities’. 49 year-old Giorgi Giunashvili, a native of the village Disevi inside the breakaway region, was arrested by Tskhinvali forces

Legal reform

Georgian parliament overturns president’s veto of judicial bill

by | February 13, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Opposition parties in the former Soviet republic of Georgia warn that the independence of the courts will be weakened after the ruling party overturned the president’s veto against a judicial reform bill. The so-called third wave of judicial reform was vetoed

Caucasus region

Russian-backed enclave plans referendum about naming itself after medieval tribe

by | February 13, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russian-backed separatists who have ruled a region of Georgia since the early 1990s plan to name their self-declared republic after a nomadic tribe that conquered swaths of Europe and North Africa in the Middle Ages. If the 50,000 population approves

News

51 people jailed for entering Georgia’s breakaway territories the wrong way

by | February 11, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has jailed 51 persons over the last nine years for entering Abkhazia or South Ossetia from the wrong direction. The ombudsman now calls for a review of the law. Georgia’s Law on the Occupied Territories

News

UNM activists rally outside Supreme Court to save their TV station

by | February 11, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Activists from Georgia’s former ruling party gathered in front of the Supreme Court building in Tbilisi on Friday to support their TV station, Rustavi 2, in a private lawsuit that could dampen down its criticism of the government. The activists marched down

News

Rustavi 2 airs allegations against former deptuty chief prosecutor

by | February 10, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--A fiercely anti-government TV station in Georgia aired allegations against a former high-level prosecutor purporting that he had tried to sell a secret recordings of a former prime minister and billionaire. The word fight was launched during

Minorities

Four transgender women attacked at Tbilisi nightclub

by | February 8, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Four transgender women are being treated for cuts after an attack at a nightclub in downtown Tbilisi, the capital of the former Soviet republic of Georgia. The incident occurred at 7am Monday on Elbakidze Street, near Rustaveli, one of the main metro stations in the city.

Media

UNM to rally to stop Supreme Court ruling against Rustavi 2

by | February 8, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Activists from Georgia’s former ruling party are rallying in Tbilisi on February 10 in order to prevent the Supreme Court from ruling against the top people in the largest opposition TV station. UNM's Nika Melia said on Wednesday that the party of ex-President

News

Text messages ‘prove’ Saakashvili ally pressured Georgia Supreme Court judges

by | February 7, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s top prosecutor on Tuesday presented text messages allegedly sent from Ukraine as proof that a close ally of former President Mikheil Saakashvili had tried to put pressure on two Supreme Court judges in a lawsuit that could silence

Crime

Georgian sentenced to 13 years for killing a transgender woman

by | February 7, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian man has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for stabbing and killing a transgender woman acquaintance in Tbilisi last year. Tbilisi City Court decided to sentence 31 year-old Giorgi Murjikneli to 10 years in jail for  viciously attacking and cutting

News

Georgia cracks down on private school linked to Gulen network

by | February 6, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian authorities have suspended the accreditation of a private school with links to the Turkish Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, whom Ankara has accused of plotting the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016. The council of the National Center

In brief

Georgia Supreme Court judges silent about who pressured them

by | February 5, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two Supreme Court judges in the former Soviet republic of Georgia have still not revealed who tried to put pressure on them in a case about the ownership of a large TV station critical to the government. Judges Besarion Arveladze and Paata Katamadze,

Europe

Abkhazia suspicious of Georgia’s offer of visa-free travel to Europe

by | February 4, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia offers inhabitants in the breakaway region Abkhazia to be included in a visa waiver scheme to the Schengen area. Sukhumi calls the offer manipulation. The EU parliament on Thursday voted in favor of extending

News

Two of Georgia’s Supreme Court judges claim they were pressured

by | February 3, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two judges in the Supreme Court of the former Soviet republic of Georgia have filed a formal request to the country’s top prosecutor to investigate an attempt to influence them. The case led to an exchange of strong claims and counterclaims on Friday,

Media

Imedi-GDS merger heralds further consolidation in Georgian TV

by | February 3, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Imedi TV, one of Georgia’s largest TV stations, has bought GDS, a smaller company linked with billionaire and former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili. Imedi confirmed that it had purchased 100 percent of shares in the broadcasting company

Europe

EU parliament greenlights visa-free entry for Georgians

by | February 2, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--The plan to extend visa-free entry into Schengen to more than 3 million citizens of the former Soviet republic of Georgia passed another hurdle today, as the EU’s parliament approved the plan with a clear majority. At a plenary session the 751 member assembly session endorsed

News

Georgian fighter seeks asylum in Ukraine to avoid extradition

by | February 2, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian volunteer soldier in Ukraine is looking for political asylum in Ukraine, as he believes his life's in danger if he returns to his home country Georgia. Former Vice Colonel Gia Tsertsvadze is wanted in Russia for a murder in 2003. Recently

Politics

President, civil rights groups reject new surveillance regulations bill

by | February 1, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--A working group within the Georgian parliament on Monday proposed to establish a new agency under the State Security Service to monitor telephone and internet communications, as well as conduct video and audio eavesdropping.

News

2 military helicopters with Georgian crew crash in eastern Congo

by | February 1, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two Mi-24 military helicopters with a combined crew of at least four crashed on Friday in North Kivu province near the border with Rwanda and Uganda, authorities reported on Monday. Tbilisi based military magazine Arsenal wrote that

News

Theories swirl about what started Tbilisi shopping centre fire

by | January 31, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Several theories were circulating about the cause of a massive fire Monday morning near Tbilisi’s central railway station, which is estimated to have done several million US dollars’ worth of damage, but there is still no firm information about why it started.

News

Terminated employees protesting in front of Georgia’s Defense Ministry

by | January 31, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Hundreds of people protested outside the Defense Ministry on Monday against a mass layoff affecting over two thousand people, demanding fair treatment and respect for labor regulations. Protesters demand to get their jobs back and claim the ministry

Security

Georgia dismisses over 2,000 defense employees

by | January 30, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Ministry of Defense (MoD) has carried out its biggest layoff ever, as more than two thousands employees were dismissed on Monday. Both military and civilian personnel were affected by the mass layoff. The ministry explained the firings

News

Massive fire at Tbilisi shopping mall spreads, rips through central bazaar

by | January 30, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Thirty fire fighters in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi are trying to extinguish a massive fire that broke out Monday morning at a shopping mall near the city’s central railway station. The blaze has spread to surrounding buildings and engulfed

News

Georgians in Abkhazia protest closure of border crossings

by | January 29, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Authorities in Abkhazia have closed Nabakevi and Otobaya border crossings connecting the breakaway region to Georgia proper. The closing of the two checkpoints was announced by Lasha Tsaava, head of the legal department of the de facto

News

Georgia’s president pardons former Defense Ministry officials

by | January 28, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president on Friday pardoned five former defense ministry officials who were convicted of embezzlement in a politically charged case. The release of the five from prison Friday evening concludes one of the most significant

Education

Bologna inclusion lifted quality of Georgia’s education system

by | January 28, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has bolstered the quality of its higher education and research, thanks to its inclusion in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), the authors of a new report argue. By joining the EHEA, popularly referred to as the Bologna process,

News

Georgian soldier freed by Kiev despite Russian extradition request

by | January 26, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian volunteer soldier in Ukraine was released from pre-trial detention Thursday evening, thus avoiding extradition to Russia, where he is accused of a murder in 2003. Gia Tsertsvadze thanked his supporters as he left prison but declined making further comments.

News

Georgian PM lectures EPP head on separation of powers

by | January 26, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s prime minister gave an EU politician a lesson in the separation of powers in democracies on Tuesday, explaining that a government cannot interfere in decisions made by the courts. Giorgi Kvirikashvili, the head of government

News

Georgian volunteer soldier’s arrest in Kiev stirs controversy in Georgia

by | January 26, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--The top prosecutor in Ukraine is calling off a criminal case against a Georgian man who volunteered to fight in the war in Donbass. The man is accused of a murder in Sochi in 2003 and risks extradition to Russia. His defense lawyer at the trial

News

Vano Merabishvili quits post in Saakashvili’s party

by | January 24, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--A former interior minister and close ally of ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili resigned as secretary general of the National Movement on Monday, the latest episode of a turbulent few months for the party that reformed Georgia over the course of a decade.

News

Georgia ushers in bill to criminalize FGM after news report

by | January 24, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in the former Soviet republic of Georgia has proposed a bill which will make it a crime to carry out female genital mutilation. The bill comes after a journalist revealed last fall that the practice was still in use in a few villages in the east of the country.

Politics

Republican Party appoints woman to key position

by | January 24, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Republican Party in the former Soviet republic of Georgia on Saturday appointed a woman former lawmaker as new political secretary. The appointment the 39-year-old lawyer Tamar Kordzaia is seen as a move to promote gender equality in politics.

News

Tbilisi joins global Women’s March against Trump

by | January 22, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Like many other cities around the world, also Tbilisi held a women’s march on Saturday, following the inauguration of Donald Trump as new US President. The march was aimed at raising awareness about women's rights and other civil rights issues and started

News

Saakashvili-supporters regain control of the National Movement

by | January 21, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--The pro-Saakashvili wing of the opposition National Movement party took control of the party on Friday at a high-profile convention that concluded a months long internal feud. According to party officials, over 7,000 delegates took part in the event at Tbilisi Sports Hall.

News

First end-of-life care unit for children opens in Tbilisi

by | January 20, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--After years of fundraising and hard work, a new end-of-life care unit for children living with life limiting illnesses has finally opened in Tbilisi. The center is a hospice for minors who need a specific type of palliative care. At the opening ceremony on Tuesday,

News

Georgia’s ruling party bounces in first post-election poll

by | January 19, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--The ruling party bounces in a new opinion poll published on Wednesday by the National Democratic Institute (NDI). Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG) now dominates Georgian politics with nearly half of voters sympathetic to it. The poll was

Security

Lawyer’s group asks Georgian government to disclose Gazprom deal

by | January 18, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--A group of lawyers in the former Soviet republic Georgia calls on the government to disclose a controversial deal it recently struck with the Russian-owned energy giant Gazprom over switching monetized payments for transiting Russian gas to Armenia.

Economy

Gazprom deal threatens Georgia’s fundamental interests, president warns

by | January 17, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili views a controversial deal recently struck between the Georgian government and the Russian-owned energy giant Gazprom as less favorable than the previous agreement, and ‘harmful' to the political and economic

News

Saakashvili believes Georgian tycoon Ivanishvili masterminded UNM’s failure

by | January 17, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Following the high-profile breakup of Georgia’s largest opposition party, the United National Movement (UNM), ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili on Monday sat down with Tbilisi based television channel Rustavi 2 and gave his first interview about

News

Poll shows stable support for EU and NATO among Georgians

by | January 17, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Support among Georgians for joining NATO and the European Union has fallen slightly but remains high, according to a new opinion poll published on Monday by the National Democratic Institute (NDI). The survey was carried out in

Minorities

In pictures: Sunday prayer in Batumi mosque

by | January 16, 2017

BATUMI, DFWatch--One Sunday in December, Muslims are cramming into the Orta Jame mosque in Batumi. Despite a three decades long effort to get permission to build a second mosque, they still have only one mosque to go to despite the city’s sizable Muslim population.

News

Saakashvili’s UNM splits in three factions in parliament

by | January 15, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--The party that ran the former Soviet republic Georgia for nearly a decade has split into three factions in parliament after a long internal feud over the role of its former leader Mikheil Saakashvili. For a few days, there was doubt over whether what

News

Gazprom to switch to monetary transit fee for using Georgia pipeline

by | January 14, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has agreed to less favourable conditions for allowing its territory to be used by Russian energy giant Gazprom to transit natural gas to Armenia. The resulting deal is is expected to be met with harsh criticism from the opposition and local energy experts.

Europe

EU parliament committee approves visa-free access for Georgians

by | January 13, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--3.7 million Georgian nationals came one step closer to getting visa-free access to EU’s vast borderless Schengen area on Tuesday, as members of the LIBE committee in the EU parliament added their seal of approval to the plan. The Committee on Civil Liberties,

Crime

Republican Party presents legislation to combat violence against women

by | January 13, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--In the former Soviet republic Georgia, the Republican Party has proposed legislation that will make femicide a separate crime - a gender-based hate crime which is causing alarm in the country. The Republicans, a party formed by Soviet dissenters in the 1970s,

News

Party which reformed Georgia during a decade breaks apart

by | January 12, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three months long infighting in Georgia’s main opposition party concluded with dozens of members announcing their departure and formation of a new opposition party on Thursday. 38 heads of municipal and regional organizations

News

Police move on libertarians for NYE cannabis planting stunt

by | January 12, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in the former Soviet republic Georgia entered the office of a libertarian party on Wednesday, seizing 84 cannabis plants that were planted eleven days earlier in a publicity stunt to promote the decriminalization of drugs. The three officers spent

News

Breakaway South Ossetia prepares for presidential elections in spring

by | January 11, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Campaigning will soon begin for the election to become new de facto president of Georgia’s breakaway region South Ossetia. The secessionist parliament of the region must schedule the date of the election and start the campaign before January 29.

News

Breakup of Saakashvili’s UNM party seems inevitable

by | January 11, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Leading figures in Georgia's main opposition party the United National Movement (UNM) seemed to acknowledge that a split is inevitable in comments made on Tuesday. "This party is no longer united. When people don’t say hello

News

Son of former opposition leader charged with assaulting Rustavi 2 director

by | January 10, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--The son of a former opposition politician in Georgia was Monday officially charged with having assaulted the director of the largest opposition TV channel. The suspect Rati Gachechiladze (29) pleaded guilty and was released on 5,000 laris (USD 1,800) bail.

News

Rustavi 2 head assaulted at father’s funeral meal by son of Maestro director

by | January 8, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--The director of Georgia’s largest opposition-leaning TV channel was physically assaulted at a restaurant in Tbilisi Saturday evening. The attack took place as Rustavi 2 director Nika Gvaramia was preparing to leave a restaurant after the funeral of his father.

Media

Ad showing murder of Santa goes viral in Georgia

by | January 7, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--A New Year’s commercial in Georgia has caused controversy for showing Santa Claus being murdered in front of a child. Now, the Public Defender calls on the advertisement company to stop airing the ad. The video (16+) ‘Santa

Media

Georgia’s Public Broadcaster selects new head who has links to Ivanishvili

by | January 7, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--The supervisory board of Georgia’s Public Broadcaster (GPB) on Thursday selected as new director a candidate with close ties to the ruling party and personal links to billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili. The decision to appoint Vasil Maglaperidze

News

Former Mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava released from prison

by | January 6, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--The former mayor of Tbilisi was released from prison Friday evening. Tbilisi Court of Appeal partially reduced his sentence to 1 year, 3 months and 22 days. As the detention is counted from September 18, 2015, his term expired on January 6.

News

Ivanishvili-linked GDS TV to shut down political programs

by | January 6, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--A pro-government TV channel in Georgia is suspending its political programs in the wake of a merger of the country’s three major mainstream TV companies, a local online news website reports. GDS is closing down its ‘2030’ program,

Minorities, News

Culture house in Pankisi may close following ‘intentional’ fire

by | January 6, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--A culture house in the Pankisi Gorge in the northern part of Kakheti may close after a fire that staff say was deliberately started. The fire on Tuesday didn’t cause much damage, but a spokesperson for the organization which runs the center

Economy

Influx of visitors to Georgia jumped 8 % in 2016

by | January 5, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Almost 6.3 million people visited Georgia from abroad in 2016. This is 7.9 percent more than last year, the head of Georgian National Tourism Administration announced on Tuesday. Out of the total number, over 2.7 million stayed in the country for 24 hours or longer

Minorities

Fire at Pankisi culture center was ‘intentionally set’

by | January 4, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--A fire that broke out at a culture house in the Pankisi Gorge was intentionally started, a spokesperson for the center told a local radio station. The building is located in Duisi, the largest village of Pankisi, a mountainous area of Georgia inhabited predominantly

News

‘Come get us’ – Libertarians invite police action after NYE weed planting

by | January 4, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Leaders of a small libertarian party in the former Soviet republic Georgia ask authorities to hold them to account after a marijuana planting stunt four days ago meant to force a softening of the country's drug policy. So far, the activists have not

Security

John McCain reaffirms U.S. security guarantee during visit to Georgia

by | January 2, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three American senators wrapped up their trip to Georgia on Monday by sending not-so-well wishes for the new year to Russia and its president Vladimir Putin. The two Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham and the their Democratic colleague

News

Georgian opposition party plants marijuana on New Year’s Eve

by | January 2, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--The leader of an opposition party in the former Soviet republic Georgia made a small marijuana plantation inside the party office on New Year’s Eve as part of a campaign to decriminalize soft drugs. Zurab Japaridze, leader of a newly formed party called

News

Serbia prepares to lift visa requirements for Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan

by | December 31, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--While Georgian citizens are waiting for the final decision about a visa waiver system with the European Union, Serbia prepares to waive its visa rules for citizens of not only Georgia but also its two neighbors in the South Caucasus. “It was decided

News

De facto president hints Abkhazia might pull out of Geneva talks

by | December 30, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Abkhazia’s de facto government may pull out of the only format of negotiations between Georgia, Russia and the two breakaway regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia, de facto Abkhaz president Raul Khajimba warned on Tuesday. The former KGB officer

News

Abkhazia shuts down two border crossings with Georgia proper

by | December 30, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Authorities in Abkhazia decided at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday to close Nabakevi and Otobaya border crossings which connect the breakaway region to Georgia proper. There are now only two crossing points that are operational, only one of which

News

Georgian court convicts Abkhaz border guard of murder

by | December 29, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A border guard working for the de facto authorities in Abkhazia, one of two Georgian breakaway regions, was Wednesday found guilty by the district court in Zugdidi of murdering a Georgian man at a border crossing checkpoint last May. Border guard Rashid Kanji-Ogli

News

Georgia’s ruling party declares ‘pragmatic’ policy toward Russia

by | December 29, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--As Georgia’s parliament prepares to declare the country’s foreign policy, the opposition National Movement has lashed out at the ruling party for wanting a ‘pragmatic’ policy toward Russia. Georgia aspires to NATO and EU membership, parliamentarians are preparing to declare,

Media

Maestro TV to merge with Imedi and GDS

by | December 28, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--One of Georgia's largest TV channels confirmed on Tuesday that it has successfully concluded negotiations to merge with two other channels that are linked to former PM Bidzina Ivanishvili. Maestro TV was a voice of independent journalism

News

Lado Bedukadze, who leaked prison videos in 2012, to become TV host

by | December 28, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Lado Bedukadze, a  former prison guard who has caused controversy in several of Georgia’s elections, will become a TV host on a newly established broadcaster. Bedukadze will host a short segment on a completely new channel called

Youth

Constitutional Court decides prison is too harsh punishment for marijuana use

by | December 26, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Constitutional Court has struck down a law which sent many young people to prison for using marijuana. Being charged with possession and consumption of marijuana will no longer land you in jail in Georgia, after the Constitutional Court

Minorities

Catholics and Protestants welcome Christmas several places in Georgia

by | December 26, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The arrival of Christmas was observed Saturday night at several churches in Georgia with Midnight Mass at the Catholic Assumption of the Virgin Mary Church in Tbilisi and in the Protestant Holy Trinity Church in Batumi. The ceremony in Batumi

Politics

Georgia’s largest opposition party on the verge of breaking up

by | December 25, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s biggest opposition party, the United National Movement (UNM), is on the verge of splitting in two, as its key figures claim the party is in the midst of a ‘coup attempt’. Givi Targamadze, the former chair of the defense and security

Minorities

Christians begin open air prayer on disputed ruins in Mokhe

by | December 23, 2016

ADIGENI, DFWatch--A dispute about the ruins of a mosque in the village Mokhe in the south of Georgia has deteriorated further after Christians began conducting prayer on the site. Muslims began holding Friday prayers on the ruins two months ago and did not stop

In brief

Man dies in avalanche in Svaneti

by | December 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A man died in an avalanche in Svaneti, in northwestern Georgia on Wednesday. The accident happened in Khaishi on the road between Jvari and Mestia. Rustavi 2 reported that the victim was a local minibus driver who had stopped his vehicle to look at the pileup

News

Data Akhalaia sentenced to 12 years for 2006 triple murder

by | December 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court on Wednesday sentenced former intelligence official Data Akhalaia in absentia to 12 years in jail in connection with the Navtlughi special operation in 2006. Data Akhalaia is seen as a close ally of ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili

In brief

Policeman in Borjomi road rage incident suspended

by | December 21, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs has suspended a police officer who allegedly beat a journalist from Iberia TV a few days ago. Journalist Giorgi Gasviani two days ago told of how he was beaten by a policeman and two others after his car slipped on the icy road.

Europe

Council of the EU confirms agreement on visa-free travel for Georgians

by | December 21, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The prospect for Georgians to enter Europe without a visa came closer on Tuesday as the visa waiver agreement was approved by the Council of the EU’s Committee of Permanent Representatives, or COREPER. Tuesday’s decision

News

Georgian leaders condemn assassination of Russian ambassador to Turkey

by | December 21, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s prime minister made a made a quick visit to Istanbul on Tuesday a day after Russia’s ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov was shot and killed by a Turkish off duty police officer. PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili called the assassination ‘unprecedented

Economy

Two Georgians jailed accused of USD 25 million microfinance fraud

by | December 20, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court on Sunday ordered the pre-trial detention of two Georgians who are suspected of embezzlement of more than USD 25 million from thousands of microfinance customers. The court rejected a motion to release the accused

News

Fire on Kutaisi-Batumi passenger train under investigation

by | December 20, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia are investigating a fire which broke out Sunday aboard a passenger train en route from Kutaisi to Batumi on the Black Sea. The blaze occurred near the village Khajalia. Although the train carriage was severely damaged,

News

Georgian journalist tells of road rage by police

by | December 19, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A journalist in Georgia claims police beat him and pointed a gun at him following a traffic incident. The incident happened in Borjomi, a town in the southern part of Georgia, Iberia TV reported on Monday. Journalist Giorgi Gasviani, who works for

News

The Trump Organization cancels hotel deals in Georgia, Azerbaijan

by | December 19, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has decided to extricate his business from potentially conflicting relationships before he moves into the White House by revoking a licensing deal for a hotel in Georgia and its neighbour country Azerbaijan,

News

Opposition in Abkhazia ends protest, deal struck with de facto authorities

by | December 17, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A more than 14 hour long protest ended on Friday with negotiations between opposition leaders and the embattled de facto leader of the Georgia’s breakaway region Abkhazia. On December 15, hundreds of people converged on the government building in Sokhumi,

In brief

Snow and ice causing flight delays at Kutaisi airport

by | December 17, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Several flights were delayed at Kutaisi International Airport on Saturday due to ice. The airport informed that the flight to Thessaloniki, Greece was cancelled, while also  flights to Warsaw, Poland and Budapest, Hungary were delayed for one day.

Roads update

Restrictions on some mountain roads due to snow and ice

by | December 16, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--There are still road restrictions many places in Georgia due to the weather. Here is the latest update from the Road Department. Trailers and semi-trailers are prohibited from driving on the Mleta-Kobi section of the S-3 road from Mtskheta to Larsi,

Politics

Healthcare and infrastructure top priorities in Georgia’s 2017 budget

by | December 16, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Following fierce debate between opposition and ruling Georgian Dream members, Georgia’s legislative body on Wednesday approved the 2017 state budget by 102 votes in favor and 10 against. The upcoming state budget envisages GEL 9.489 billion

Crime

18th and 19th Century books stolen from Georgia’s National Library

by | December 16, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia arrested a man on Wednesday for stealing two historical books from the National Library the day before. The books the 64-year-old is accused of stealing date back to the 18th and 19th Century, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) wrote in a statement.

Politics

Georgian opera singer Paata Burchuladze ends stint as politician

by | December 15, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Paata Burchuladze, a Georgian opera singer who formed a political coalition which participated in the October 8 election, announced his departure from politics on Wednesday. Local media outlets wrote that the new leader of the party will be historian Nika Machutadze.

Politics

Georgia’s former ruling party fires senior functionaries

by | December 15, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The infighting in the United National Movement (UNM) continued on Wednesday as 20 members from the main opposition party's central administration were dismissed. The dismissal impacted mostly those who side with Saakashvili loyalist Chiora Taktakishvili,

Politics

President boycotts constitutional commission, calls for public hearing

by | December 14, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s President Giorgi Margvelashvili may refrain from participating in the work of the state constitutional commission and instead start ‘actively lobbying’ for launching a public discussion regarding constitutional amendments,

News

Georgian-born militant dies in Syrian war

by | December 14, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--There were reports on Tuesday that 20-year-old Ramzan Baghakashvili from Pankisi Gorge in the northeast of Georgia has died in Syria. Baghakashvili, who was from a village Dumastura, left Georgia for Syria two years ago with another teenager.

News

What’s behind a one-man protest outside the government office?

by | December 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--For two days, Nika Cherkezishvili has spent the night outside the government office in Tbilisi, refusing to leave until he gets a meeting with Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili. What caused Cherkezishvili begin a one-man protest is that he claims

Environment

Locals rescue two youth from the snow after avalanche

by | December 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two young people were pulled out of the snow alive Monday evening after being caught by an avalanche in a mountainous part of Georgia’s Adjara region. Locals helped the two survive the ordeal. They did not have life-threatening injuries but were taken to hospital.

News

Young camerawoman found dead in her apartment

by | December 12, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 27-year-old camerawoman working for Georgia’s Public Broadcaster was discovered dead in her apartment in Kutaisi Sunday night. Sopho Bobokidze’s death was first reported by her friends in social media. A health problem is the likely cause

Youth

Protest for drug liberalization leads to detentions in Tbilisi

by | December 12, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A protest against Georgia’s strict drug policy led to clashes with police and two people being detained in Tbilisi on Saturday.  Protesters gathered in front of the parliament building on Rustaveli Ave in Tbilisi to demand a softer drug policy.

Crime

Woman shot and killed by ex-husband

by | December 12, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A woman died in Georgia’s eastern Kakheti region on Friday after being shot in the head by her ex-husband. The incident happened as the man visited the victim’s house, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) said on Saturday. During an argument

News

Georgian man gets in trouble with Svanetians for posting naked selfie

by | December 12, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Social media in Georgia have lit up with debate about a young man’s naked self-portrait in the highland region Svaneti. Was it an insult to local traditions? The debate was sparked by a video posted on Facebook which shows the man apologizing

In brief

Georgian PM appoints veteran diplomat as foreign affairs adviser

by | December 12, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili has appointed veteran diplomat and former chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee in Georgia’s Parliament Tedo Japaridze as foreign affairs advisor. Japaridze served as foreign minister in 2003 to 2004,

News

EU states remove last obstacle to visa waiver scheme for Georgia, Ukraine

by | December 10, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The European Union on Thursday finally agreed on a visa waiver suspension mechanism, the last obstacle to the long-awaited visa free travel scheme to go into effect for Georgian and Ukrainian nationals. On December 7, the EU’s three governing bodies, the European Council,

Roads update

Mountain roads in Georgia closed for trailers because of snow

by | December 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--There are road restrictions all over Georgia due to bad weather, the Roads Department warned Thursday. Trailers and semi-trailers are prohibited from driving between the 1km and 50km mark on the S-8 Khashuri-Akhaltsikhe-Vale road,

Crime

Georgian man sentenced to ten years in jail for murdering US tourist

by | December 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The district court in Telavi, in Georgia’s eastern Kakheti region, on Thursday sentenced a man to 10 years in jail for murdering a US citizen last August. The court determined that on August 12, 2016, Mikheil Chincharashvili met the US tourist

News

Convention to combat violence against women still not ratified after two years

by | December 7, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--In 2014, Georgia signed an international convention to end violence against women and impunity of perpetrators, but two years later the country has still not ratified it. After Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani had signed the Istanbul Convention on

News

Under-staffing indicated as cause of miner’s death in Chiatura

by | December 6, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 53-year-old man died in an accident in a manganese mine in Chiatura on Saturday. Paata Ghavtadze died from injuries while leaning out of the locomotive he was driving in the poorly-lit Itkhvisi mine in the mining town in the Imereti region in central Georgia.

Minorities

Compromise it took two years to plan failed to solve mosque dispute

by | December 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Muslims in Mokhe in southern Georgia do not accept a compromise suggested by a government commission and continue to pray on the ruins of a mosque in the village. Local Muslims and Orthodox Christians have disagreed for two years

News

One dead, eight injured as truck slams into minibus

by | December 4, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--One person died and eight were injured Saturday in an accident in the south of Georgia. The accident happened on the Tbilisi-Akhaltsikhe highway near Atskuri at about 13:00. The local newspaper Sknews.ge reported that a truck crashed with a minibus

In brief

19.3 percent more tourists so far in 2016

by | December 3, 2016

Almost 5.9 million international visitors arrived in Georgia during 2016, which is 7.9 percent more than in the same period last year, the head of Georgian National Tourism Administration said on Friday. Out of these tourists (who stayed in the country during 24 hours and longer)

News

UNESCO recognizes Georgian alphabet as part of humanity’s shared heritage

by | December 1, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian alphabet has been recognized by UNESCO as part of humanity’s cultural heritage. The decision to include three variations of the Georgian alphabet in the United Nations agency’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage

Europe

Martin Schulz optimistic about visa liberalization for Georgia

by | December 1, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili met President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz on Wednesday. Schulz is leaving EU politics when his term expires in January in order to focus on the federal elections in Germany next year,

Politics

UNM barely avoids splitting in two after talk of ditching Saakashvili

by | December 1, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The faction supporting Mikheil Saakashvili narrowly won a debate at a National Movement party conference on Wednesday. A  resolution was passed to hold a party convention in the format favored by the country’s former president.

Economy

Government deal to soften impact of currency drop on mortgage lenders

by | November 30, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian government offers a temporary aid package to people who have their mortgage loans in US dollars, to ease the disastrous consequences of the lari’s continued race to record low depths. The decision was made at a

News

Georgian government to raise excise tax due to tanking lari

by | November 29, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Amid growing discontent with the economic situation in the country, and a national currency which plunges to new depths every day, the government announces a hike in excise the tax rate for fuel, tobacco, imported autos and gambling. "As you know,

News

13 women killed in family violence so far in 2016

by | November 29, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--New grim figures from Georgia’s ombudsman show that 13 women have been killed in family violence during the first ten months of 2016. In some cases, the police were alerted in advance, but did not intervene. Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili spoke Friday about

Politics

Founder of failed UNM splinter party leaves politics to start lobbying firm

by | November 29, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A former lawmaker with background from the National Movement announced on Monday that he is leaving politics, after founding and campaigning for the splinter party Girchi. Pavle Kublashvili, a former head of the justice committee in parliament,

Education

Fake TSU diplomas may be in circulation after forgery ring busted

by | November 29, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A forgery ring sold diplomas that looked like they were issued by the country's most prestigious educational institution, Tbilisi State University. Investigators are now trying to hunt down the fake documents.

Politics

Georgian parliament approves new government

by | November 28, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian parliament Saturday passed a vote of confidence in a new cabinet government formed after Georgian Dream won a landslide in the October 8 election. 110 MPs voted for and 19 against a cabinet, which had only three personnel changes

Minorities

Another transgender woman attacked in Tbilisi

by | November 28, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A transgender woman was attacked in Tbilisi on November 25. The attack happened late at night on Tamar Mepe Avenue. The target of the attack, Nata, had her nose broken and suffered other facial injuries. She left the hospital on Saturday.

Youth

TSU students begin new sit-in, demand election cancelled

by | November 27, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Student at Tbilisi’s largest university began another round of protest this week, breaking into building number 6 of TSU and refusing to leave until there are reforms of the education system. Using the same name as the ad hoc group during a wave of protests

News

Britain’s Sir Alan Duncan visited Georgia

by | November 27, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Sir Alan Duncan, United Kingdom’s Minister for Europe and the Americas, visited Georgia this week to take part in bilateral talks about reforms and security. The Waldrop dialogue is an annual conference between representatives of the two countries’

News

Georgian lari hits all-time low

by | November 27, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian lari on Friday hit an all-time low at 2.5026 against the US dollar. The previous record was in January this year, when it was valued at 2.49 laris per USD. Georgia’s National Bank has sold USD 180 million of its reserves since August, but has not

News

Women in Tbilisi say: We won’t give away the night

by | November 26, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Women carried dresses and skirts as flags through central Tbilisi on Friday to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The march was organized by Movement of Women and began from Pushkin Square in the center toward the police station.

In brief

Video: Brawl erupts between Georgian politicians’ debating live on TV

by | November 25, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - A fistfight broke out between two guests during live political talk show between supporter of the United National Movement and a retired colonel, turned a conservative political analyst.

Politics

Georgian interior minister lists achievements ahead of confidence vote

by | November 25, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Acting Interior Minister Giorgi Mghebrishvili showed up at several committee hearings on Wednesday as parliamentarians were preparing for a vote of confidence in the new cabinet. Listing his ministry's achievements, Mghebrishvili said police in Georgia

News

Georgian prosecutor plans to reopen case against former president’s son

by | November 24, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Prosecutor General’s Office in Georgia is planning to take a fresh look at a high profile trial against the son of deceased former President Zviad Gamsakhurdia. "Prior to this decision, a comprehensive and objective investigation had been repeatedly

Crime

Two arrested after dismembered body found in Tbilisi basement

by | November 24, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two persons have been arrested i Georgia accused of involvement in a macabre murder. One of the suspects is accused of killing the victim in an alcohol fuelled rage. The murder took place in late October, according to investigators. A neighbor complained

Minorities

Transgender Zizi dies in hospital after brutal attack

by | November 24, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A transgender woman who was attacked and severely injured on October 14 died at the hospital Tuesday night. The lawyer for the Women’ Initiative Supportive Group informed journalists that Zizi (32) had passed away. The attacker cut her throat

Security

General Chachibaia promoted to chief of the Georgian Army General Staff

by | November 24, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Giorgi Margvelashvili on Tuesday appointed General Vladimer Chachibaia as new chief of the General Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces (GAF). 45-year-old Chachibaia, who served as chief of the Joint Staff of the armed forces

In brief

Two flights cancelled at Tbilisi airport due to pilot strike in Lufthansa

by | November 23, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi international airport reported two flights are postponed on Wednesday because of the pilot strike in Lufthansa. The two affected flights were to have been carried out early Thursday morning, Tbilisi-Munich at 4.05am and Munich-Tbilisi at 5.00am.

News

Putin ratifies agreement to join military forces with breakaway Abkhazia

by | November 23, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russian President Vladimir Putin has ratified an agreement to join the military forces of Abkhazia, a breakaway region of Georgia, with the Russian armed forces. The combined forces agreement signed on November 21, 2015 establishes a joint

News

FGM will be ended ‘very soon’ in Georgia, says acting justice minister

by | November 23, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A government spokesperson says she had never imagined that female genital mutilation is being practiced in Georgia, and that the practice will be ended very soon. Three villages in the eastern Kakheti region are maintaining the practice which

Politics

Georgia’s Prime Minister reveals new cabinet: Who’s in and who’s out?

by | November 23, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s acting head of government Giorgi Kvirikashvili on Tuesday unveiled his new cabinet, with only minor personnel changes from the last one. One notable change is the promotion of Dimitri Kumsishvili from Economy Minister to the more important

News

McCain visits Georgia in January

by | November 21, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Before the America’s president-elect Donald Trump takes the oath of the office, a leading Republican Senator,   Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, and his fellow party member Lindsey Olin Graham will lead a congressional delegation to Ukraine, Georgia and Estonia January to push back against Trump on Russia policy.

News

Georgia wins Junior Eurovision Song Contest

by | November 21, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has won the Junior Eurovision Song Contest for the third time. At the final, which was held in Malta, Mariam Mamadashvili won with a performance of the song ‘Mzeo’ which garnered 239 points.

News

Georgia’s patriarch pledges to mend ties to Russia

by | November 21, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Patriarch Ilia II joined other Eastern Orthodox leaders in Moscow on Sunday to attend the 70-year anniversary of the Russian Orthodox Church. According to the Patriarchate of Georgia, Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II was invited by the Patriarch Kirill of Moscow

Minorities

Transgender Day of Remembrance observed in two cities in Georgia

by | November 21, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The International Transgender Day of Remembrance was observed in two cities in Georgia on Sunday. In Kutaisi and Tbilisi, small gatherings commemorated transgender people who have been murdered as a result of transphobia.

Politics

Georgian parliamentarians appointed faction leaders

by | November 20, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The newly elected parliament mits first session on Friday, and one of its first decisions was to register five factions and the majority and minority. The Georgian Dream majority consists of 116 MPs. 115 are members of Georgian Dream, which received

Politics

Government takes caretaker role as parliament begins selecting new cabinet

by | November 20, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian parliament approved the composition of the new parliament on Friday, and the government now has a caretaker role until lawmakers has approved a new government. MPs voted to recognize the authority of the ninth parliamentary assembly.

News

Ivanishvili sells de Kooning painting at Christie’s for USD 66 mill

by | November 19, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A large, colorful abstract Willem de Kooning painting from one of the artist’s most productive periods was Tuesday sold at Christie’s post-war and contemporary auction in New York. The price: USD 66.3 million. The Dutch-American artist’s ‘Untitled XXV’ from 1977

Politics

UNM member refuses to serve in Adjara’s supreme council

by | November 18, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A politician for the UNM party in Adjara has refused to serve in the region’s supreme council, echoing a recent decision by Sandra Roelofs, the former first lady, to not take her seat in parliament. Levan Varshalomidze, former chairman of the Adjara government,

News

Margvelashvili vows to protect presidential powers in the face of GD-dominated parliament

by | November 18, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - President Giorgi Margvelashvili said that he wouldn't tolerate acts directed against state institutions in his welcoming speech on Friday at the opening session of the newly elected parliament.

News

Israel prepares to turn away asylum seekers from Georgia and Ukraine

by | November 18, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Israel might begin rejecting asylum requests from citizens of Georgia and Ukraine, Tel Aviv-based newspaper Haaretz reports. The past two years have seen a surge in asylum requests by Ukrainians and Georgians, as citizens of these countries

News

Defense officials accused of mixing politics and service vow to clear their name

by | November 17, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two high officials in Georgia’s Defense Ministry temporarily suspended themselves from their duties on Wednesday, after being accused of abuse of power during the Saakashvili presidency. Sergo Ninua and George Tsabadze, both lieutenant-colonels

News

Georgian opposition party threatens to plant marijuana on New Year’s Eve

by | November 17, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A political party in the former Soviet republic Georgia has launched an unusual campaign to legalize marijuana: If the parliament doesn't decriminalize the weed by the end of the year, they will plant the narcotic plant in their office on New Year's Eve.

Politics

UNM nominates parliament posts while discussing successor to Saakashvili

by | November 17, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The National Movement has nominated Sergi Kapanadze as vice speaker of parliament from the minority. The leader of the parliamentary minority will still remain Davit Bakradze. He was speaker of parliament from 2008 to 2012. Nika Melia, who was UNM’s candidate

Economy

Plans revived for Trump Tower in Batumi, Georgia

by | November 17, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Plans for a Trump Tower on Georgia’s Black Sea coast are being revived, after laying dormant for the last five years. Newly elected US President and businessman Donald Trump visited Batumi personally in 2012 and later praised Mikheil Saakashvili

Europe

Georgia’s Orthodox Church realizes it was wrong about EU and NATO

by | November 16, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Clergy from the Georgian Orthodox Church describe getting rid of some misconceptions about NATO and EU after a visit to Brussels last week. The unprecedented visit started November 7 with Georgian clergy meeting NATO's envoy for South Caucasus

Crime

Man sentenced to 12 years for attack on opposition politician

by | November 16, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court on Tuesday sentenced a man to 12 years in jail for shooting an opposition politician last February. Alexi Petriashvili, then the party secretary of the Free Democrats, was approached by two men on a cemetery in the middle

News

Georgia slightly improved in Internet Freedom ranking

by | November 16, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Internet freedom across the globe declined for a sixth constructive year and two-thirds of the world's internet users live in countries where authorities resort to censorship. However, Georgia has improved its position and has ranked as a free country according to a report released on Tuesday by Freedom House, a US government-funded pro-democracy NGO.

Economy

Money transfers to Georgia up 14% in October year-on-year

by | November 16, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The flow of money into Georgia grew by 14 percent in October, according to the latest monthly report by the National Bank. The money flow into the country was USD 102.5 million, USD 12.6 million more than in October 2015. 91.9 percent of transfers

News

Mogherini situation in Georgia ‘extremely encouraging’ to get visa waiver

by | November 15, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - European Union foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini on Monday has emphasized that the situation in Georgia is ‘extremely encouraging, extremely positive’ to deliver on visa liberalization for the citizens of the country.

Crime

Nanny caught on camera beating ten month old baby

by | November 15, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 60-year-old woman was arrested in Tbilisi on Tuesday, accused of beating a 10-month-old girl she was looking after. The accused has been working as a nanny for a family in Tbilisi for a month and half, according to a statement by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

News

Georgian diplomat nominated as UNWTO Secretary General

by | November 15, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--For the first time Georgia has nominated a candidate for the position as Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) for the period 2018-2021.

News

Saakashvili ally Khatia Dekanoidze resigns in Ukraine

by | November 15, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Ukraine’s National Police Chief Khatia Dekanoidze who was in charge of police reform in the country stepped down on Monday just in a week after resignation of her compatriot and ally, Odessa governor Mikheil Saakashvili.

News

Opposition-leaning Tabula TV temporarily suspends broadcasting

by | November 15, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - In an official statement released on Monday on its website, Tabula named ‘change the format of its broadcasting, as part of larger structural changes to our operating procedures’ as a ground for suspension.

News

Georgian social drama wins awards at European festivals

by | November 15, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - An award-wining Georgian film ‘Anna’s Life” directed by Nino Basilaia has triumphed at the prestigious film festivals in Europe this weekend. Soon after winning the Grand Prix for the

In brief

Georia’s trade turnover grew 22% Jan-Oct 2016

by | November 14, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s foreign trade turnover increased by 22 percent in the first ten months of 2016, but against a background of increased import and reduced export. The trade turnover amounted to USD 9,950 million, according to preliminary figures published

Economy

Georgian lari tanking, on course for second record low this year

by | November 14, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian lari is on course for a new historic low, after setting a record earlier this year at 2.4921 laris per US dollar. Today it is valued at 2.4899. Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili explained the new drop in the value of the lari is as a result of growing imports.

News

Saakashvili believes Ukraine’s Poroshenko won’t extradite him to Georgia

by | November 14, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Georgia’s former president Mikheil Saakashvili, who recently resigned as Odessa governor and is set to lead an opposition party, believes that Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko won’t honour Tbilisi’s request to extradite him in the homeland, where he faces criminal charges.

News

Saakashvili forms new political party in Ukraine, demands snap election

by | November 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili has formed a new political party in Ukraine, demanding early elections there. The announcement comes a few weeks after his party in Georgia, the National Movement, was defeated in the parliamentary

Crime

Prison inspector accused of asking for bribe to get prisoner released early

by | November 12, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s secret police on Friday arrested a prison inspector for attempted fraud. The suspect is working at prison no 16 in Rustavi south of Tbilisi and is accused of trying to help an acquaintance get a prisoner released earlier in return for USD 7,000 bribe.

Security

Germany thanks Georgian soldiers for helping repel attack on consulate

by | November 12, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Germany thanked Afghan and Georgian forces on Friday for repelling an attack on a German consulate in northern Afghanistan the day before. The attack on the consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif ended as the attackers were pushed back by consulate security,

News

Gubaz Sanikidze leaves National Forum, former GD coalition partner

by | November 11, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The change of leadership among Georgian Dream's former coalition partners continued Friday, as Gubaz Sanikidze said he is leaving the National Forum after the election defeat last month.  Sanikidze has been one of the party’s most active

News

Russian MFA Warns Citizens of risks travelling in Georgia

by | November 11, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Amid growing inflow of Russian tourists to Georgia, the Russian Foreign Ministry warns its citizens about the risks associated with such visits, referring to the Law on Occupied Territories, which may result for RF citizens facing formidable fines or even prison term.

Minorities

Murdered transgender women remembered in Tbilisi

by | November 11, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Friends and activists gathered Thursday to remember the transgender woman Sabi Beriani, who was brutally murdered in Tbilisi two years ago. November 10 has become a national day of remembrance for transgender victims of violence,

News

Exiled Saakashvili losing grip on party, blasts former associates

by | November 10, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s former president Mikheil Saakashvili, who recently resigned as governor of Ukraine’s Odessa region, blasts members of the National Movement for bowing to the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party. On Wednesday, in a video interview

News

Body of German missing since July found in Svaneti

by | November 10, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The body of a German man who has been missing since July was found Thursday in Svaneti, a mountainous region in northwest of Georgia. Sergei Smislov’s family has been looking for him for several months, believing that he was kidnapped

News

NATO starts joint military exercises in Georgia

by | November 10, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian army on Thursday has begun two weeks of military exercises with the NATO at the Vaziani military base, in Tbilisi eastern outskirts. The Joint Training and Evaluation Centre

News

IWPR Reveals Female Genital Mutilation Practice in Georgia

by | November 10, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - An Institute War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) has unveiled that a small native Caucasian ethnic group living in a remote east area of Georgia, has been performing female genital mutilation (FGM) practice during past two decades.

News

Tbilisi reacts to Trump’s victory

by | November 10, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian leaders congratulated Donald Trump with being elected as president of the United States, while political analysts in Tbilisi tried to predict how the result will affect US-Georgian relations. Georgian Dream parliamentarian Gia Volski

News

Georgia’s President: two-party dominated parliament won’t encourage development

by | November 9, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch- President Giorgi Margvelashvili has announced that he feels disappointed regarding country’s parliamentary elections, as he was expected a multi-party system in the newly elected parliament, but it turned into a bipolar.

News

US support for Georgia will be even stronger: Ambassador Kelly

by | November 9, 2016

Tbilisi,DFWatch - Following the tense electoral night in the United States, Ian Kelly, US Ambassador to Georgia has emphasized that no matter who wins, US will remain strong alley to Georgia.  

News

New Rights leaves Paata Burchuladze-led coalition

by | November 9, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Political party New Rights left a coalition led by operatic bass Paata Burchuladze after it suffered sound defeat in the parliamentary elections in October. Mamuka Katsitadze, lead figure at the New Rights,

Politics

Sandra Roelofs refuses to serve as member of Georgia’s parliament

by | November 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s former first lady Sandra Roelofs has turned down her mandate to serve as a member of parliament despite being among the top ten names on the National Movement’s party list. On Monday, Roelofs asked the Central Election Commission (CEC)

In brief

Head of Georgian Church to attend patriarch Kirill’s 70th Jubilee in Moscow

by | November 8, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - The head of Georgian Church  is expected to pay a visit to Moscow in November to attend a 70-year jubilee of his Russian counterpart. According to the Patriarchate of Georgia,  Catholikos-Patriarch Ilia II was invited by the Patriarch Kirill of Moscow

News

Pankisi native, reportedly ISIS member, killed in Middle East

by | November 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--One more Pankisi native has been killed in the Middle East. Reports vary about where the 24 year old Mukhad Khangoshvili was killed. According to Interpressnews, which relies on an unidentified source in Pankisi, it happened in Mosul,

News

Georgia reintroduces compulsory military service

by | November 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Defense Minister Levan Izoria said Monday that he is reversing a decision by his predecessor Tina Khidasheli to end compulsory military service. He made the announcement on Monday during a meeting with the media to present a report about his first 100 days on the job.

News

Georgian ex-President Saakashvili quits as governor of Odessa

by | November 7, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The exiled former president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili announced on Monday that he is leaving as governor of Ukraine's Odessa region, a position he has held since May 2015. During a press conference broadcast on his Facebook page,

Politics

GD presents its list of committee heads in the new parliament

by | November 7, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--After a landslide victory in the election, Georgian Dream bigwigs gathered on Sunday to agree on key appointments for the new parliament. After the political council session was over, GD announced its list of candidates, which, not surprisingly,

News

19-year-old girl took part in ‘ritual murder’ of her own mother

by | November 6, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The teenager colluded with her boyfriend and another friend to knock her elderly mother unconscious, then they stabbed and killed her, dismembered the body, burnt it with gasoline at a garbage dump in Tbilisi and threw it in a ditch, according

Politics

GD considers its party secretary as new speaker of parliament

by | November 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--After several weeks of speculation, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili on Friday confirmed that the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party is considering its secretary Irakli Kobakhidze for the post as new speaker of parliament. It was expected that the stern

News

29-year-old man arrested for beating his 15-year-old wife

by | November 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 29-year-old man was arrested a few days ago in Georgia for beating his 15-year-old wife. The young victim’s mother says her underage daughter has broken teeth, broken ribs and a broken nose after suffering systematic abuse at the hands of her husband.

Elections

Third suspect arrested for disrupting election in Jikhashkari

by | November 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia on Thursday arrested a third person for creating a disturbance at an election precinct near Zugdidi during the parliamentary election on October 8. Deputy Interior Minister Shalva Khutsishvili told journalists on Friday

News

Three Chinese citizens arrested in Georgia, suspected of assaulting workers

by | November 4, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia arrested three Chinese citizens on Thursday, as workers on a railway line in western Georgia claim that they were beaten by representatives of the company. In a short statement, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) said its investigators

News

Georgian lari drops again, approaching important benchmark

by | November 3, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The opposition in Georgia is blaming the government of impoverishing the country after the lari dropped in value again and is approaching a ‘psychological’ benchmark rate of 2.50 against the US dollar. Its official rate against USD was set as 2.4195

Politics

GD plans to replace ministers in charge of the economy

by | November 2, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--After a crushing victory in the parliamentary elections, Georgia’s ruling party this week began the work of forming a new government. Several changes have been proposed ahead of a meeting in the GD political council to take place at the end of this week.

Minorities

Commission suggests making mosque ruins cultural heritage site

by | November 1, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A commission tasked with settling a dispute between Christians and Muslims over the ruins of a mosque in the south of Georgia delivered its recommendations on Thursday, but it is uncertain if this will help solve the two year old conflict.

Elections

Georgia’s ruling party secures enough seats to amend Constitution

by | October 31, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The ruling party Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia won a constitutional majority in the second round of the parliamentary elections, winning all but one majoritarian district, mostly by a significant majority. In Mtatsmimda district, GD had decided

Elections

Many irregularities in second round of Georgia’s election for parliament

by | October 30, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--In parts of Georgia, voters went to the polls again on Sunday in the second round of the parliamentary election. There were runoff contests in 50 single-seat districts, accounting for a third of the seats in the assembly. Voting took place against a background

Politics

Speaker of parliament leaves Republican Party

by | October 29, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili on Saturday announced his resignation and departure from the Republican Party, which he was leader of from 2005 to 2013. He stated his reason as disagreement with the founders and current leadership about the party’s

Elections

UNM claims governor of Samtskhe-Javakheti attacked its cameraman

by | October 28, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The National Movement has accused the governor of the southern Samtskhe-Javakheti region of physically assaulting one of its photographers on Thursday evening. Nikoloz Khizadze claims he was heading to the village Muskhi to document

News

63-year-old railway worker dies after being run over by train

by | October 28, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 63-year-old man died on Thursday after being run over by a train three weeks ago in the south of Georgia. Zaur Gerliani, who worked as a fitter, had one of his legs run over by a train as he was out repairing tracks in the mining town Kazreti, near Bolnisi,

Economy

First road, now airport – PM promises to develop mountain region Tusheti

by | October 28, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two months after promising to build a new road to Tusheti, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili now suggests building an air strip in the inaccessible region in the northeast of the country. It's an attractive tourist destination, but difficult to access.

News

168 prisoners pardoned in Georgia

by | October 27, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - The Georgian president pardoned 168 prisoners, 114 of them will leave jail today, while the rest had their sentences reduced, the commission’s head, Zviad Koridze, stated at a briefing on Thursday.

News

Georgian Manganese lawyer arrested on corruption charges

by | October 26, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A lawyer working for Georgian Manganese was arrested for corruption on Tuesday. Mirian Bichikashvili is accused of commercial bribery, the Finance Ministry said. Georgian Manganese owns mines in the small town of Chiatura as well as the ferro-alloy plant

Economy

Georgian Railways considering Tbilisi-Kutaisi airport train

by | October 26, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Railways is considering creating a new train line connecting the airports in Tbilisi and Kutaisi, with regular departures. Spokesperson Dachi Tsaguria told Kutaisi Post that Georgian Railways is currently researching whether the new

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